Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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February 15, 2006

Yankee Chapter IABC Blogging Panel Questions & Answers

The panel discussion for the IABC is next week, and the panelists just got the list of questions we need to answer in the panel discussion. I asked the moderator if I could blog them. Here’s the result.

Questions for Blog Panel

General questions about blogs:

-What criteria can you use to assess the reliability of information on blogs?

Common sense is my short answer. Don’t trust everything you print in print, see if the writer cites a source, and if they give links to sources, click through and check to determine if the sources are correct. Think critically before accepting what the writer states. Conduct some of your own research if you doubt a post.

Now if you are a regular reader, you have to trust the author to some extent, based on reactions on the blogger’s blog, and other responses in your community.

-What is the profile of people reading blogs and how do we reach bloggers who are reaching our audiences?

I approach this question from an SEO perspective. The profile of people reading blogs will depend on the content strategy of an individual blog. If you are running an Adobe blog about Cold Fusion, readers will want to read posts about that technology. If you are writing a blog about dealing with terminally ill cancer patients, readers will want to read articles related to death, cancer and enjoying life in their remaining days.

Based on the profile of the audience you can conduct some keyword research to find the keywords readers would use to find content that relates to a blog. Once you have the list of keywords conduct a search on Google, Yahoo! And, see what pops up in terms of blogs, forums and other sites where your audience can generate content online.

One more issue for blogs, some keywords are typically only used in conversations in a blogging or conversational context. I find that targeting blogging keywords over and above keywords we might target for the major search engines is also a great idea to find those keywords and put them in RSS Feed Search engines like, IceRocket etc.

Tags are used to identify blog posts by bloggers. RSS Feed search engines like provide the ability to search by such tags. Conduct a search for posts related to those tags.

-How do you decide which blogs to stay on top of?

The relevancy of the content.
The wit of the writer.
The number of comments.
The writer’s connection with a community.
Quality of the writing.

-How can I get people to COMMENT on my blog, rather than just reading it? I've tried posing a question at the end of my blog postings.

Write a post based on someone else’s post, add something to the conversation, and send them a trackback. Write a thoughtful piece that references a number of other bloggers, be generous with your links to other posts.

-How do you monitor blogs without getting overwhelmed by the volume?

Other than hiring a buzz metrics company like Cymfony, Umria and Buzzmetrics. Dedicate some resources to monitoring blogs. You can use an RSS feed reader to monitor hundreds of blogs at the same time. Conduct searches in consumer search engines based on your targeted keywords.

Managing Risk:

-How does an organization combat negative or unauthorized blogging that can potentially be hurtful?

Set a formal blogging policy for your company. The Alaska Airlines decompression story is a great example. A passenger took pictures of a decompression that occurred on an Alaska Airlines jet, the passenger was a blogger, and he posted the pictures on his blog. The blogger received national attention and hundreds of comments; several of the comments were very negative and disparaging. The blogger discovered the comments emanated from the IP address of Alaska Airlines. Needless to say, that’s not a very good PR story for Alaska Airlines. The story illustrates the importance of educating your workforce on how to react to consumer generated media at work and maybe also at home. First set a blogging or consumer generated media policy in your workplace, and then educate your workforce on how to handle comments and posts on blogs and other websites.

If a company receives negative comments on their own blog, a company does not have to publish any content on their website that goes against their polices and standards. If the blog comment is vulgar, racist, sexist etc, deleting the comment will be readily accepted by the blogging community. However, if the comment provided constructive criticism in a thoughtful manner, I caution against deleting the comment. An alternative might be to respond to the comment, providing a point-by-point explanation of why disagree with the reader’s comment. A quick thoughtful response might win your argument and more friends than deleting the comment. You don’t want the an inappropriate deletion to become the discussion topic.

-What are the potential risks associated with having a blog in corporate communications?

A customer or competitor might comment on your blog and criticize your company and products. The customer or competitor might be right. You might have someone in your company ghostwrite your blog, and then its revealed that your senior executive is not the blogger.

Internal Use of Blogs

-How are companies using employee blogs? Are there specific case studies of successes?

IBM is one the best examples of a company blogging, IBM has 1000’s of employees blogging internally.

-How do you measure the success of a blog and whether it's worth the return on investment?

Higher traffic, higher search engine rankings, more links from other blogs. Press results. Look to the Backbone Media Corporate blogging survey for the list of results.

-For those with CEO/COO blogs, who actually writes them?

I’ve seen some studies that indicate that many CEO/COO blogs are ghost written. That’s a mistake, especially if it’s discovered that the CEO/COO does not write his or her blog. Blogging is very different from speech writing. It’s a personal conversation or dialogue between the writer and the reader. You would not have a stand-in for your CEO on a conference call or public appearance, and you should not have a stand-in on a blog. It’s okay for your team to give support to the executive, but they have to write the posts.

Posted by johncass at February 15, 2006 8:54 PM

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